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February 28, 2014
Photo of Elizabeth B. Harvey. Courtesy Ohio History Central and Mary L. Cook Public Library.Photo of Harriet Beecher Stowe. Courtesy Ohio History Central.Photo of Annie Oakley. Courtesy Ohio History Central.Photo of Ellen W. Craig-Jones. Courtesy Ohio History Central.Photo of Toni Morrison. Courtesy Ohio History Central and Black River Historical Society.Photo of Nancy P. Hollister. Courtesy Ohio History Central.
Who Is She?
Women of the Years

March is Women’s History Month. Can you identify these accomplished Ohio women of the past two centuries by their achievements?

Before You Begin
OK, we admit up front that some of these will be hard to answer because the achievements of some aren't as well-known as they should be. Still, we hope that you’ll get at least a few of them right and that, along the way, you’ll enjoy learning more about each of these accomplished Ohio women by clicking on the “Who is she?” link after each one.

1831: Quakers, she and her husband opened the first free school for African American children in Ohio, in Warren County, and she was its first teacher. Who is she?

1832: She moved from Connecticut to Cincinnati, where exposure to Ohio abolitionists and the Underground Railroad led to her influential novel about the brutalities of slavery that sold more than 500,000 copies in its first five years. Who is she?

1838: One of her poems was published in a Cincinnati newspaper, launching her literary career. Who is she?

1850: She became the first African American woman to receive a college degree, graduating from Oberlin. Who is she?

1851: She led the Akron state convention on women’s rights at which Sojourner Truth made her famous Ain’t I a Woman? speech. Who is she?

1885: She joined Buffalo Bill Cody’s Wild West Show. (More recently she’s been serving as a spokesperson for the state income tax “check-off” benefiting Ohio’s History Fund.) Who is she?

1890: This Warren, Ohio, woman began Ohio Women in Convention, a group of women seeking equal opportunities with men, especially the right to vote. Later she served as president of the Ohio Women’s Suffrage Association and treasurer of the National Women’s Suffrage Association. Who is she?

1899: This author, educator and equal rights advocate, an 1873 graduate of Wilberforce University in Wilberforce, Ohio, participated in the International Congress of Women. Who is she?

1918: She became one of the first two women members of the American Bar Association. Who is she?

1918: She became one of only three women to receive the Distinguished Service Cross, the second-highest U.S. combat award, for her actions during World War I. Who is she?

1922: She became the first woman justice on the Ohio Supreme Court and the first woman to serve on the supreme court of any state. Who is she?

1930s: She accepted a position as editor of greeting cards for Cincinnati’s Gibson Art Company and devoted the next 50 years of her life to writing greeting card verses, becoming known as the “Poet Laureate of Inspirational Verse.” Who is she?

1934: She was born in Toledo and later co-founded the National Women’s Political Caucus, Women’s Action Alliance, Coalition of Labor Union Women and Ms. magazine. Who is she?

1940: She was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives from the Cleveland area and served fourteen consecutive terms, retiring in 1969. She was responsible for 61 separate bills, most involving education and public health issues. Who is she?

1946: An author and one of the best-known American illustrators of the 20th century, she won the 1946 Newberry Medal for the children’s book Strawberry Girl. Who is she?

1952: She was elected to the Ohio House of Representatives from the Dayton area and later served in the Ohio Senate. Who is she?

1964: She became the first woman to fly around the world, and set a round-the-world speed record, completing her flight in 29 days, eleven hours and fifty-nine minutes in a plane named the Spirit of Columbus. Who is she?

1964: She began writing a column for the Dayton-area Kettering-Oakwood Times that became nationally syndicated and went on for 31 years, resulting in more than 4000 articles and 15 books, making her a household name from the 1960s to 1990s. Who is she?

1971: She was elected mayor of Urbancrest, Ohio, making history as the first African American woman elected mayor of a municipality in the United States. Who is she?

1987: She won the Pulitzer Prize for her novel, Beloved. Who is she?

1994: She was elected Ohio’s Lieutenant Governor and later served an 11-day term as Ohio’s first woman governor. Who is she?

1994: She became United States Treasurer, serving until 2001, and introduced the State Quarters Project. Who is she?

1995: She became the first woman elected Speaker of the Ohio House of Representatives. Who is she?

Explore More
Find more about women’s history in Ohio and more accomplished Ohio women in the category “Women” at Ohio History Central, our online encyclopedia of Ohio history.